‘We’re excited to follow this journey’

By on April 21, 2024

Will Deane at Lido Beach, NY with a few friends. (Photo credit: Asher Nolan)

Nags Head teen Will Deane heads for the World Junior Surfing Games

By Maggie Miles | Outer Banks Voice

It’s the time of year when 16-year-olds are typically found daydreaming in classrooms, envisioning summer breaks filled with beach days, skatepark sessions, and perhaps part-time gigs bussing tables or working in retail, all while relishing the company of friends. Will Deane is gearing up for a different kind of summer experience.

While his peers may be counting down the days until the end of the school year, Deane is honing his skills to compete at the highest echelons of junior surfing. He’ll be at the 2024 International Surfing Association (ISA) World Junior Surfing Games, his second appearance after participating last year.

With aspirations of clinching gold as part of Team USA, Deane is set to make waves on the international stage, representing his country, and the Outer Banks, in El Salvador, where the event is being held from May 3 – 12 on the waves of La Bocana and El Sonzal. “It’s super cool,” Deane tells the Voice of the achievement.

Deane is no stranger to competitive surfing. After being pushed into the waves on a longboard as just a toddler by his dad, Shawn Deane, Will began competing at five years old, joined the Eastern Surfing Association (ESA) at six years old, and got sponsored and began winning competitions not long after that.

Since then, he’s won three NSSA East Coast Titles, one NSSA National Title, 10 USA Surfing East Coast Prime events and three USA Surfing Prime East Coast Season. He finished second at the US Championships last year in U16, and currently ranks 25th in the World Surf League (WSL) North American Qualifier Series and first in the USA Surfing East Coast Prime Series. His main sponsorships include Quiksilver, Sun Bum, and Everett Nautical.

Not only is Nags Head native Deane from one of the most renowned surf spots on the East Coast; his parents are the owners of the Secret Spot Surf Shop in Nags Head. “So I’ve always been around it,” he says.

Will Deane on the North Shore of Oahu this past winter. (Photo credit: Shawn Deane)

But Deane makes it clear that he sees the upcoming World Junior Surfing Games as a gateway to more ambitious goals down the line. He plans on going pro and competing in the World Surf League’s Challenger Series, a professional surfing competition that serves as a pathway for surfers to qualify for the elite WSL Championship Tour. The Championship Tour is the absolute highest level of professional surfing where the world’s best surfers compete in the best waves across the globe for a shot at the World Title at the season-ending WSL Finals.

His former coach and mentor, Asher Nolan, who has known Deane since he was 10 years old, says the ISA World Junior Surfing Games is the best place for him to get noticed on that world stage, and he says Deane has the competitive spirit to do it. Nolan knows many professional surf icons from the Outer Banks.

“And Will is more competitive than all of them,” he says, explaining that historically many professional surfers spend a lot of their making surf movies and going on surf trips with other big names to represent surf culture. “Will wants to be on the world stage competing.”

Nolan says seems like just yesterday that he was looking at this 10-year-old who was just another Outer Banks surf grom.

“Here he was this kid from North Carolina, a goofy kid from the Outer Banks, and then he got good really fast. He has way more competitive drive than most kids,” says Nolan, although he hopes Deane will take a moment to slow down and celebrate what he has achieved so far. “He’s really tough on himself…you know, you want to do well, but I hope he can enjoy the moment, enjoy the event, and not look too far ahead.”

“Will is on fire. He has really grown into a well-rounded and exceptionally talented surfer,” says Jesse Hines, an Outer Banks surf icon and one of Deanne’s biggest role models. “He is smart, driven, and committed to growing as a person and a surfer. To top it off, Will is a well-mannered, humble young man and the Outer Banks can’t ask for a better representative in the surfing world.”

Deane’s homebase is the Outer Banks, but because he travels a good majority of the time, he homeschools with Bridgeway Academy, an online private school with an NCAA-certified program. When he’s home, he surfs every day if there are waves, goes to the gym twice a week, studies videos of himself and other surfers out on the water, and does the bulk of his schoolwork, although sometimes he has to complete assignments when he’s on the road. While he wouldn’t have it any other way, he admits it can be challenging at times.

“Traveling sometimes can suck, being away from home a lot. It’s a little hard sometimes. Competing you’re always going to lose more than you win but you just have to remember that the wins will come eventually,” says Deane.

Will Deane at home on the Outer Banks last fall. (Photo credit Shawn Deane)

And no one feels more pride than Deane’s parents, and the Outer Banks locals that will be cheering him on from the sandbar.

“Watching Will year after year, setting goals, and working hard to achieve them has been awesome,” says Shawn Deane. “Initially, it was to get invited into the USA Surfing Prime series by doing well in other amateur surf organizations. Then, it was to make a final, win an event, make the US team, and ultimately, make the ISA team. Now, he has a new set of goals, which include ISA Medals and US Championship titles. We’re excited to follow this journey with him and could not be more proud.”


Barnhill Building Group has been selected as the Construction Manager @ Risk by the College of the Albemarle and is seeking to pre-qualify construction trade contractors to submit bids for the furnishing labor, materials, equipment, and tools for the new College of The Albemarle – Allied Health Sciences Simulation Lab (COA Health Sciences) located in Elizabeth City, NC. Please note: Only subcontractors who have been prequalified by Barnhill will be able to submit a Bid.

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Principal trade and specialty contractors are solicited for the following Bid Packages:

BP0100: General Trades

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BP0750: Metal Panels

BP0790: Caulking / Caulking

BP0800: Turnkey Doors/Frames/Hardware

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HUB/MWBE OUTREACH MEETING: Barnhill Building Group will be conducting a HUB/MWBE Informational Session. You are encouraged to attend the following session to learn more about project participation opportunities available to you. These seminars will help to: Learn about project and scope; Inform and train Minority/HUB contractors in preparation for bidding this project; Assist in registration on the State of North Carolina Vendor link; Stimulate opportunities for Networking with other firms. Location and time TBD. Please visit our planroom at https://app.buildingconnected.com/public/54da832ce3edb5050017438b for more information.

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  • Old Coach

    Best of luck to Mr. Deane, what a cool quest to be on. I want to spout a bit, and I hope that the Outer Banks Voice will take this into account every time they do this, which is a lot —

    Will has talent but the CT is a long road, he’s years away. It will take a lot of luck, a lot of money, and him getting bigger and stronger, and it is going to be a hell of a lot of fun for him to see how it goes.

    Every year, we have pretty good athletes come out of here. I’ve coached many. & I was for better or worse part of that “good local athlete” churn way back.

    However this goes, the Voice and other outlets that exploit the “next great local hope” need to keep in mind these are kids, they are as humans worth a hell of a lot more than just being able to run fast or surf well or kick a soccer ball.

    We’ve watched one after another NOT land on the CT or in the Olympics or on a national team. And I know where they actually ended up, the struggles they had, and how those expectations caused harm.

    And, as parents, we almost always have to go back to square one and help them understand that sports are temporary. Glory is momentary. They are our kids, our community, our children, and resting/placing our hopes or dreams or athletic frustration on them is just a crappy way to raise kids.

    I could tell you story after story about this community and its parents laying a bunch of evil pressure on our kids to go out and amaze the world with their athletic superiority. I saw it as a kid myself. I saw it coaching here and other places, hundreds of times.

    Will, don’t know ya. have shared a break with you and your friends now and then. You surf great. Ride waves as long as you want, but if and when you get off, we are still your family. There will be no disappointment. This is your home win, lose, succeed or fail. Surfing is just a silly thing we like to do. It’s who you are as a person, who you are that no one writes about, that lasts a lifetime.

    And to any parents pushing their kids with unrealistic dreams of sports glory, grow the hell up. We don’t really put out that level of athlete here, so tell them that, instead of “here comes your full ride” and “sponsors are going to love you.”

    All done.

    Sunday, Apr 21 @ 10:49 am
  • james

    Online learning is really much better now and is for sure a viable option for those that can swing it, but years ago it was nonexistent. However, the surfing associations always held (I suppose they still do) the East Coast Championships, the VA Beach Championship contest, and the US Championships back to back in September. As a young competitor and former East Coast Champion (boys division) and 2nd runner up US Champion, I always missed the first month of the school year. Other than September being the best surf on the East Coast, I never understood why these organizations essentially cut the first month out of ever school year for young amateur surfers. I started every school year a country mile behind my classmates as I was at a surfing contest for the entire month of September while all my classmates were already in the 4th chapter of math class by the time I made it to class. I always felt it was unforgivable that the the surf organizations (ESA, etc.) promoted this and never gave a thought about the negative impact of missing an entire month of school at the very start of the school year. Will Deane is clearly a great young surfer (of which there are many) and no one should ever hinder his dreams, but I implore the surf organizations to (if they have not already) rearrange the time frame of their surf contests so as not to place amateur surfers at an academic disadvantage at the very start of each and every school year.

    Sunday, Apr 21 @ 11:21 am
  • Edward

    Really talented fellow. I am glad he is keeping up with schoolwork. I know it is tough on both him and his parents. You can always surf, but need the knowledge to guide yourself later in life. Good luck sir!!

    Sunday, Apr 21 @ 12:12 pm
  • Dano

    Good for old Coach, as a former college athlete and coach I have always told kids that whatever sport you chose to participate in, do your best. I have also told them that pros are the best of the best so get a good job and in the future you can afford to participate in your sport on weekend and holidays.

    Monday, Apr 22 @ 3:47 pm

    Wow, I am surprised at the negativity here. Best of luck Will and may all your hard work and focus pay off, not just in monetary ways, but in life lessons learned. I’ve already seen you grow up thus far, to be an amazing athlete and a stellar young man. WillPower!! Kudos to his wonderful family for supporting him in his dreams in a grounded & rounded way and may those dream all be realities.

    Tuesday, Apr 23 @ 11:12 am